- Group representing people from PoK addresses US lawmakers
- Group claims Pakistan and China are exploiting the region's resources
- US must support Gilgit-Baltistan in its struggle, group tells lawmakers
"Gilgit-Baltistan cannot end rights abuses without the help of the international community. The US must continue to be a beacon of light for the democratic spirit, to demand an end to Pakistan's rule and support Gilgit-Baltistan in its struggle," Senge Sering of the Washington-based Institute of Gilgit-Baltistan told US lawmakers during a recent event at the Capitol Hill.
At an event organised by Senator Tim Kaine to mark Vietnam Human Rights Day last week, Mr Sering said that the UN Security Council resolution 47 declares Pakistan as an "occupier and aggressor" in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and calls for its complete withdrawal.
The event was addressed by several top American lawmakers including Senators John Cornyn, John McCain, Kaine and Mark Warner, and House of Representative members Barbara Comstock, Gerry Connolly, Sheila Jackson Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Chris Smith and Leslie Byrne.
People of the Gilgit-Baltistan (PoK) demand a complete removal of Pakistani and Chinese actors who forcefully occupy the land and exploit the region's mineral and water resources, Mr Sering said.
The international community must question the Chinese multinational corporations who are building a multi-billion dollar economic corridor in an area which Pakistan occupies forcefully and illegally. The people in this region face suppression for demanding basic rights, he said.
"Further, the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies have seized thousands of acres of private land in Gilgit-Baltistan for military use. These practices are a direct violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and have resulted in the displacement of locals," Mr Sering said.